Thursday, February 13, 2020

Winter Checks In

     Yesterday afternoon, sleety rain turned to wet snow.  Snow that had actual impact as it fell.  Snow that made a sound as it hit.  The sound wasn't the glittery, cricket-like crunch of freezing rain nor the whooshing rush of ordinary rain, but a series of tiny thuds and thumps, pattering down relentlessly.  By early evening, streets, sidewalks and cars were all coated with an inch or two of heavy, wet snow.

     It was slick, too.  On the drive home, I saw (and veered carefully around) the results of at least two rear-end collisions, and with each on, I was more inclined to hang back, to slow down smoothly and well in advance, and to check my rear-view mirrors a little more often.

     Of course, there are always the drivers who think slick roads mean all the rules are off.

    One of the most striking -- or nearly -- was the clever lad who got himself half in the bus lane, sitting there with his turn signal on waiting for a chance to pull a U-turn.  He came very close to being the filling of a sandwich with a bus on one side and a big SUV on the other, surviving only because everyone else was willing -- and able -- to give way.

     This was followed up by the driver who hung back at a "NO LEFT TURN"-posted green light, waiting for the bus-specific signals to change and the bus to move on so he could force his way into the bus lane and turn left, instead of proceeding to the next traffic light two blocks north like a common citizen.

     As any fool will demonstrate, when it snows, green lights become optional, yellow ones are green and red stoplights are really just yellow with a tiny frown.  Who knew?

     One more thing: clear the snow off your rear and side windows, you ignorant heathens.  I don't care if you just came off a decade driving tanks for the Army, peering out at the landscape through a tiny gap is not how we drive motor vehicles out here in snowy civilianland.  Most examples of that clever plan were moving at about the speed of a WW I tank, which would have been more of a comfort if their taillights and turn signals weren't almost totally obscured, too. 


Blackwing1 said...

One of the things that's a great indicator of how people drive is the state of their car windows after being snowed on.

- If all they do is clear a tiny vision slit (like your tank driver example) in their windshield and blithely drive off, you know that either they never, ever look around them, or they're in a neck brace and can't turn their head.

- If the windshield and windows are cleared but the rear window is still a solid mass of snow, you know that they never use their mirrors to see what's behind them.

When I bought my (now 10-year-old) full-size pickup truck, one of the things I bought as an accessory was a full-size push broom, dedicated for use only on the truck, which resides sideways in front of the back seat. I'm short, but with the broom I can reach more than halfway over the top of the cab, and much more than halfway across the windshield and rear window to swipe off the snow. I always clear the hood as well to keep the snow from blowing onto the windshield.

I believe that I paid a whopping $9.95 for the broom, and it beats the heck out of trying to clear the snow off a truck with one of those little sweeper/scraper thingies. Of course I still have a long-handled ice scraper in the truck for those frozen slush days, but when you've got a foot of snow on an outdoor-parked vehicle a full-size broom makes it quick and easy to clean off.

pigpen51 said...

I call it Winter Rules, when idiots run red lights, during times of slippery roads, instead of driving according to weather conditions. They drive like there is one set of rules for summer and another set for winter,and it is fine to run red lights, etc. because it is winter.
I also hate it when you see the driver who is so lazy that they cannot be bothered to clean their car off completely. And not just the windows, but the top, as well. Driving down the expressway at 65 mph or so, and all of a sudden, the entire 3 feet of snow from the top of the car or van ahead of you blows off, and right onto your car, killing your visibility for a few seconds.

RandyGC said...

When I worked for the local EMA I often had to be out in winter conditions with poor road conditions. I never had any issues driving when it was O-Dark-Early and the road crews were still getting started and I had the roads pretty much to myself.

The fear kicked in later in the day when driving home and the general populace was out and about.

Paul said...

My complaint is turn signals are not force fields. I usually see one or two of those on every commute.